Sunday, February 27, 2011

Battles with Kushan Part 2

13 year old expert Kushan Tyagi from Ames, Iowa

  Late last year, Kushan Tyagi of Ames challenged me to play a game on I've known Kushan and his family for 5 or 6 years. He has a brother Nirvan who is the same age as Matt and they used to play in the Grades championship every year. Kushan has developed into a great chess player and when he plays in one of my tournaments, I know I'm going to have some exciting games to watch. Last year at the Okoboji Open, he beat 3 experts Dan Vasto, Bob Keating, and Joe Knapp in a row on his way to a 3rd place finish. In April, he'll be playing with Matt and 4 other players for the Iowa Chess Championship. If he wins, I think he will be the youngest state champion ever.

  When I last played Kushan Tyagi on early last year, he was the 32nd highest ranked 13 year old in the country. now he is an expert chess player and is the 22nd ranked 13 year old. I only play one game at a time on and Kushan seems to be down to 10 or so games at a time. Last year, he was playing 30 to 40 games at once, so my advantage to offset his superior chess ability was not going to be as big as last year. The games were played at the pace of one move every 3 days, although Kushan rarely took more than a day to figure out his move. I would study the position when I was driving back and forth to work an hour each way. I'd tape the board position to the dashboard and try to think about it without looking. My car and I are both still in one piece, so I suppose the strategy worked.
  One of the better games I've played. It helped a lot that I was able to dull the game up and not let Kushan start attacking. I think he lost the pawn by mistake, but boredom may have had something to do with it. Last year, I played a dull Queen's Gambit as black, but in April I played the Dutch against Kushan in an offhand game at the West Des Moines Chessathon and managed to get a draw by a perpetual check after being worse throughout. That emboldened me to try the Dutch against Kushan for the rematch game. I enjoy the Dutch Defense, because while it can get exciting at times, if I'm not feeling particularly confident, I can play the Stonewall Variation and dull the game up if necessary.
A real battle and I was happy to escape with the draw. I'm looking forward to our next matchup.